Archive for the ‘News/Features’ Category

Age is a great mystery, not the historical ages such as the Romans but the gap between those in their 60s and those in their 20s. Sometimes it seems like it’s just around the corner whether looking forward or looking back, something that gives the canyon between the two a certain romanticism, well that and greeting cards philosophy of everyone singing with each other. Other times it seems like both sides could at any minute amass two armies, one armed with wooden canes and enough medicines to create biological weapons, the other armed with knives and enough cider to satisfy a redneck. But despite the differences one thing is true of both sides of the age war, they both are scorned and discriminated against by everyone in the middle… but only with one side calling it Ageist.

If you were to refuse to hire someone for being over 60 or to claim they smelled of kippers, you’d no doubt land yourself in court for being ageist. Even if it was for legitimate reason such as needing to carry heavy loads or have fast hand eye coordination. It’s because its viewed that acknowledging the bleeding obvious in many cases suggests you have some issue with a particular group and thus will not consider them on those grounds. Strange then that it is ok to use this exact method of discrimination against young people, by which I mean under 25s, when you would be harassed and face jury were you to it against ethnicities, sexuality, gender, religions or the pension gang.

Were as claiming a woman can’t do something because she might get pregnant or not have the psychical strength, or that a black man might cause you trouble with the brain-dead skinheads in the pub is seen as unacceptable, it is strangely common practise to claim a young person can’t do something because they’ve never been given the chance to learn and prove themselves. It’s quite common to see this, the workforce who won’t see a state pension being refused an opportunity, all because of the dreaded “E” word, experience.

There is more to this form of discrimination than just “oh they lack experience, they need to at least done this job for two years before they can get an job that used to be for people straight from school”. Due to the actions of the drug-fuelled youth who spend all day partying and having sex (hang on that started in the 60s didn’t it?), all young people have been tarred with this brush of “trouble” as shown in the conversation that one reporter over heard in April: “They have no work ethic,’ he said. ‘They are interested only in life outside work. They can’t wait to get away at the end of the day.

“She couldn’t speak, either, not properly, and when I admonished her she said, “It’s my personality. My accent is part of my culture.”

The thing is though, other than the fact this is hardly new it did start in the 1950’s, why would you expect someone to be excited about a job they either don’t really want to do, and see it as purely for money or in the case of many students trying to break into areas of Fashion and Media have to do for no money.

A standard two-week placement with a media company in London, unpaid like so many other placements, can cost the young person over £400 to undertake. Would you get excited about forking out a large sum of money to work for free only to be told at the end of it all whilst applying for full time work “you still don’t have enough experience”?

The simple case is young people are seen as free labour, as we’ll take on a lot of work for no money and you can always refuse to pay bring in someone else and still claim they lack experience until they’ve done around 40 of these placements.

It is of course more than just employment where this discrimination lies. As with people accusing elderly people of being bad drivers, many people claim the same of young drivers. Some in fact going so far as to claim you shouldn’t let 17-24s drive at night (because of course on your 25th birthday all the secrets of the world suddenly unlock like Doctor Who opening that fob watch).

Yes there are “boy racers” out there, and there are some teenagers who will cause trouble, but there are people in their 30s who cause trouble in a similar way, just look at Millwall football fans. And most of the programming aimed at young people is enough to make you want to gouge your own eyes out just to have something to throw at the television. But these, as always, are a minority. The vast majority of young people in Britain enjoy the same well-written comedies as the rest of us, and more of them listen to Radio 2 than Radio 1. But still they’re lumped together and treated as essentially a minor Slave Labour force, having to work hours and hours more than the rest of the population for no money and very little acceptance or understanding.

The simple facts of the matter is that Age Discrimination is a Two way street, and people need to start realising that you have to treat young people fairly regardless of what’s said on TV. If you want just one reason why, given the hugely ageing population, just think who’s going to be funding all the pensions and powering the economy in 10 years time, and they may well remember how the now retired treated them with contempt… all I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if euthanasia becomes common.

Adam Walker

Advertisements

Everyone has memories of sitting an exam, the hours spent awake reading books that most sane people don’t know exist such as “The history of Chinese mushrooms in the 12th centaury”, and the days spent sweating your entire body weight in sheer terror. All that effort only to find that when you actually sit the test what you were told to study has changed, and now you need to know about Japanese mushrooms in the 14th centaury. Whether it be a boring hour long exam in a soulless hall dressed in grey uniforms or sitting behind the wheel of a 1.2 litre hatchback driving through crowds of school kids who clog up the high street.

It's a Car

a typical learn to drive car

I now find myself in such a position along with thousands of other people about to sit their practical driving test in the next month, as come October it’s all change again, and all in the name of being able to claim that we’re 0.0001% less likely to die.

Overall the changes are rather meaningless, as there are only two major changes to the usual pomp and circumstance of the event. These being a new 10-minute “independent driving” section and shrinking the number of slow speed maneuvers from two to one.  Slow speed driving usually consisted of being asked to perform two of the following: Turn in the road, parallel parking or reversing round a corner. In a way this is a bonus as reversing round a corner is as useful to driving as smearing custard on your legs is to tanning, seeing as the closest you get is reversing out of a parking space at a strip club in the early hours.

Driving Standards Agency Logo

The real fuss for people is this independent driving section, which the Driving Standards Agency describes as “not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions – this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going”. Despite the fact its obvious that if your test takes place in your home town, your more likely to go on instinct, prior knowledge and ability to navigate by landmarks such as the pub than bothering with road signs.

Although these changes were implemented by a bunch of grey-haired pensioners in suits sitting 50 floors above London it’s the front-end examiners and instructors who now need to change what they teach to meet the new requirements.  So we spoke to one, or more specifically my one, who said of the new text: “I don’t feel that would be the definite changes that will make safe driving, it’s going to make it harder for some people, and it’s probably the wrong people its targeting to make it harder for”.

But if these changes won’t do it, then what will, the instructor (who is terrified of having her name appear in print) talked of the need to have a series of follow up tests, to make sure that the platoons of tracksuit clad soldiers armed with their sonic stereos and razor sharp baseball caps continue to behave until they lose all sense of individuality and melt into a single greyish soup on the floor.

When asked how often these “Follow ups” should be undertaken, the response given was: “In my view over the first two years especially. They’ve got if you get six points in the first two years they can revoke your license, I don’t feel that’s enough of a fear or enough of a factor in trying to keep people safe because they’re still going to exactly what they want to do at that point.

“I’m of the belief that with the new photo card license, you need to reapply for that every ten years, its too easy then to get your license back, after the ten years, without having any form of follow-up to show you can still drive in a safe manner, I personally believe that once you got your license there should be some sort of test or follow-up tests every few years to make sure your still safe.”

You could ask if the system is so badly set out, why haven’t instructors kicked up a fuss, simple: “There have been consultations done and very few driving instructors do actually fill in any consultation forms”

In other words instructors like taxi drivers and learners like myself, suffer from shout a lot then scratch self-syndrome.

The Today program on Radio Four also raised the issue of driving, citing inexperience (something that actually makes sense) as the cause of crashes. Although driving at 70 miles and hour along a three-lane motorway when you’ve never been on one before passing your test might also be a factor. Unless your Welsh that is as, if Cardiff research get their way, anyone under 24 won’t be allowed to drive at night or with their friends. Employing the religious method of blaming all for the actions of a few, such as blaming the 20 million young people for the actions of 300.

Now it might well be that they claim under 24s shouldn’t be allowed to drive at night as they’re inexperienced and thus more likely to crash in the dark, if this is true will someone please tell me what on your 25th Birthday suddenly and magically makes you capable of driving on tight country roads in the rain at night with the only light being from your headlights. Otherwise forgive me if I continue to believe you have to drive at night with an instructor or alone for a short distance to get the ability built up.

so creepy it's scary

Despite the new rules, the debates over whether the Human Rights Act applies to under 25s and whether young people or vampires are a bigger threat at night the simple situation is that no one wants to address the real issues. Young people will always make mistakes, making a mistake and either yourself or others learning from it is the core of education, whether it be a teacher telling you 25 x 15 is actually 375 or smoking a joint of weed then throwing up over your girlfriend. Sometimes the mistake is minor, sometimes it’s huge, but the whole point is you learn. As imagine if you never learned anything, not because you were born with the intelligence of Wikipedia, but because you lived such a sheltered life where you never tried anything and thus learned, well you’d be like Rod and Todd Flanders on The Simpsons, in other words unable to function in wider society.

Make the changes you want, just remember that its going to confuse a lot of people when you do who suddenly have to learn a whole new subject in two days and that even after that things will never be perfect. Heck if the world was flawless, I wouldn’t see any point in living in it.

Adam Walker

Imagine I was to approach you on the high street, verbally attacked you for holding humanist beliefs, criticised you for protecting your girlfriend or wife from STD’s (despite claiming to be a virgin), claimed the holocaust never happened, agreed with the slave trade, then to top it off order a cover up to allow people to abuse your children. Now imagine I said that you must think the same, and you must agree with what I say or suffer eternal damnation all because the voices in my head of an invisible man with a beard told me so. I’d be sectioned under the mental health act. That or I’d be Pope Benedict XVI on his tour of the UK.

Which one's him again?

Yes the man in a very ugly wedding gown, everyone’s favourite member of the Hitler youth, arrived today in Scotland amid a mutual press gang bang and a sea of drooling politicians and clergy. Before the pope-mobile was packed up, controversy had already surfaced over taxpayer funding, the catholic church’s position in global events, and what was nothing more than an attempted bitch-slap against the UK.

Benedict’s predecessor John Paul came to the UK on a “Holy” mission funded by the church having been invited by the Catholic church, Where as the current control freak came here having been invited by another unelected dogmatist, the Queen.  Ignoring the £25 cost of tickets to the open air mass in Glasgow or the cost of the inspired merchandise, who doesn’t want a Pope shaped bottle opener? Around £13 million is being spent on his tour, with an extra £1.5 million used to cover police standing around on a street rather than investigating muggings.

Apparently however, for his senior council the money isn’t enough as Cardinal Casper still saw fit to attack Britain for having a “multi-cultural society” by describing us as “Third World”. Which has an interesting logic to it, as if they define a Third World Country as somewhere where medical care is freely available, education is of a high standard, different ethnicities and cultures are widely tolerated, free speech and expression is common and food, water and energy are secure in supply then that must mean Iran is the most “First World” country around, with North Korea shortly behind them, and large areas of Africa. Whilst they claim no slide was intended, the old adage of closing the stable door after the horse is gone seems to apply.

The threat of people asking about the multi-billion organisation he runs raping children was one many feared would loom over his visit, but despite one question on the plane in which he said he was shocked when he found out this has been played down in favour of listening to what he wants to say. Although it is ironic that he was shocked as the man who ordered the cover up Casti Canubi as it is known within the church was indeed him. Back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger he lead the Catholic council on dealing with these “indulgences”, and ordered the cover up under penalty of excommunication. Why was he never arrested, because in the UK, US and many other EU countries the Pope as head of the Vatican was granted diplomatic immunity from any legal proceeding. Hence why the only way to get at him is through the civil courts and take their money.

But these really are of a minor nature, considering who the new enemy is to salvation and the countries future The Atheist. Since arriving this morning the Pope has launched an attack on what he describes as “Aggressive secularism”, shown by no invitation sent to the British humanist or secular societies while every other religious faith had representatives at his meet and greet in the Scottish capital.

Secularism, such as Athiesm, Agnostism and Humanism are the big guns for the wrinkly virgin, despite an estimated 40-50% of the population of the UK being non-religious. Even going as far as to saying, in a form of praise, that Britain had stood against Hitlers “atheist extremism

Fig 1

“Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live”. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t Catholic priests captured giving salutes to the Genocidal Dictator (see fig 1)?

And wasn’t it the Catholic Church who had a platform of non-involvement during the Holocaust? I suppose though he may be right, and he did apologise around 65 years too late. But then who’d know more about mass slaughters and human suffering than a former member of the Hitler Youth in the Vatican. Oh and by the way, this claim Hitler was an Atheist, if that’s true explain why he was seen inspecting a giant cross in Germany with two close advisors (see fig 2)

Fig 2

There is one blessing though, ironic as using that term may be, they had hoped to attract over 100,000 people to the mass in Glasgow, they had to reduce that to 65,000. Even a man I know who went to see the Pope in Edinburgh, and then travelled to Glasgow this afternoon isn’t going to see the boogieman speak. He’s going to get very drunk in a pub, the true worship halls of Scotland.

The tour of course is not over; he’s still got the Midlands and the Capital to take in before he hopes on the plane back to Pasta-Land. So who knows what otherwise will come out of it, the one thing that is obvious, is in the BBC’s refusal to speak to any secular or atheist speakers to get the counter argument (this may change as the night progresses) it’s suck up time in the media. If you want truly unbiased news on what is going on, then you’ll have to go to the events yourself, as I’m certainly not unbiased, and neither is the mighty BBC, either way do yourself a favour, and seriously question anything that’s said by the man in the white dress.

Adam Walker

For many people, by which I mean the ones who always seem to appear on TV or in films, your first job is usually a romantic day dream surrounded by either steaming hot trays of pancakes and waffles as you roller skate around the diner or have to apologise for the 50th time for “accidently” breaking the window of the local pensioner when delivering his paper at 10mph. The wistful smells of sweet summers, the friendly customers smiling, the broken ankle after slipping on the coffee you forgot to mop up, it’s quite a wonderful idea to reflect on when your sitting on a rocking chair in your 80s. Too bad that it’s complete bollocks for some 90% of us.

For the majority who lived after the 50s revolution the first job usually fell into one of two categories: either just some pointless part time job in a shop stacking shelves or clothes whilst being asked 30 times were the toilets are, or having to work at a low wage job such as mining or steel working from 16-60 because education and job chances in your area were so poor you had no choice. Although this second one in Britain is now more or less gone the first one is more true than ever, the only modern twist being that even when you do have access to education at a university level it still largely does nothing to help you get into any area you studied for, or would of hoped of working in.

This might sound somewhat pessimistic or untrue, but the reality of it all is that with near 50% of young people going to university, it’s evolved from something that was once a way of really learning and setting your self out from a crowd into an almost automatic right that costs you upwards of £20,000 and putting you in a crowd of thousands of young people. So suddenly a degree is not enough anymore.

With millions of people unemployed right now, even for low-key jobs the markets pretty desperate, well if your applying that is. For those on the other side, the employers, things couldn’t be better.  Take the media for example, a good one as many young people aim to work in it with booming numbers of media courses. If you’re an Editor or a Producer you long to have around 200 people apply, although it means sitting through a lot of nonsense it means you can pick usually around 60 of the best and offer them a week long placement or unpaid internship, which as the buzzword nowadays is “Experience”, most will happily snap up.

Think about it, that means you can have a whole year filled with essentially free labour, admittedly most of the tasks given will be the stuff that no one wants to do such as cataloguing but it means it gets done without you having to pay over £12,000 for the pleasure. In fact the money flows the other way, with the average work placement costing people over £400, especially as most of the UK’s media is based out of London, and unless you live there you’ve got to pay for board, food and travel.

Many of the familiar TV personalities had a different time, as this idea of work experience is a relatively new phenomenon, with people being hired for their ability rather than having made 3 million cups of tea.

You may be tempted to think: “so what, things are hard all over”, or you may even think young people won’t care because they enjoy TV and partying too much. If that was true then 21-year-old Vicky Harrison would still be alive.

I don’t know if you saw this story when it came out in April, but Vicky had 3 A-Levels, 10-GCSE’s and even went to University before deciding she didn’t like the course. She had applied for more than 200 jobs, not just in teaching or TV like she had hoped to do, but even just working in McDonalds or Tesco. Every time it was a cold hard no, until after two years, and suffering from severe depression she took a fatal drug overdose.

Between December and February, youth unemployment rose to 929,000. A figure expected to increase as increasing numbers of young people are turned away by universities. In the Daily Mail, following the tragic story of Miss Harrison, a reporter revealed she had been trying to help a young reporter, who was interning with her, named Emma find work, after she worked from 9am to midnight, longer than most of the paid journalists. Despite the Mail Reporters senior experience and contacts, all she could offer from other groups was unpaid internships, leading her to remark: “But they are not OK. Nowadays, you have to have rich parents to work in any of the sexy jobs such as fashion or advertising or journalism.

“When I first worked on Fleet Street, my newspaper was not being published because the printers were on strike for, like, a million years, and I still got paid for just sitting there eating a sandwich.”

To the employers, young people now are essentially willing slave labor, who will do any job no matter how tedious because they’ve been duped by spin in job ads into thinking you need 3 years of experience before you can get a job. To much of the public, young people are all image obsessed, drunken loud mouths that care more about appearance than anything. If that’s true, then its also true to say all pensioners move at 1 mile, are closet bigots and serve no purpose in life. Generalizations can be fun when they’re not aimed at a group your in.

Basically the job market for young people is ridiculously discriminatory, with many either being told they lack experience of being given psychometric testing, something that is as accurate at telling a persons personality as licking their bath towels and identifying the shower gel they use. Of course this won’t change anytime soon, unless we return to the violent protests of the late 80s and then things will likely change for the worse. But if you are thinking of employing someone, for the love of bread and butter pudding ignore the qualifications and actually ask them about who they really are, when they love, what they hate, whether they think we should hang or poison MPs. And if your looking for work, two pieces of advise: 1, no amount of book studying, or work places are going to help as employers will always find a way to screw you over, and 2, 1 in 4 lap dancers has a degree, so don’t think that what you study is what your going to end up doing, by all means try just don’t close every door in the pursuit.

Adam Walker

As the title says, welcome to A16 Media, a news and features website for the socially inept. Primarily consisting of features providing annaylsis of major issues, news stories or things that, sadly, you are required to do regardless of free will.

For many people, most of the media is a cold, ruthless and somewhat ignorant place where the same old tired views and misery is spread around without ever really challenging the topic as they once did in the 60s and 70s. Unless your American in which case the news reader is probably challenging anything vaguely to the left of Hitler by breaking down screaming, crying and looking like they have 50 miles of make up on that has started to melt.

Thats not to say this site is not a cold, ruthless and uncaring place. In many ways it is just as harsh and brutal in the way it describes the world, just at least its honest at it being that way.